NO decision has yet been made on who will run Cheshire East Council - with the Independent group in talks with both Labour and the Conservatives.

Neither Labour nor the Conservatives won the required 42 seats to take control of the council - so one of them will have to enter into some form of agreement with the Independents.

This means the group which lost most seats last week - the Independents - will ultimately have the say in who will form the next administration.

Cllr Craig Browne (Alderley Edge), who was re-elected as leader of the Independent Group at its AGM over the weekend, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We’re back in a situation of no overall control [on Cheshire East Council] which is where we were four years ago.

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Craig BrowneCllr Craig Browne (Image: Cheshire East Council)

“We are having discussions with both the Labour group and the Conservative group. We have set out our requirements for going into partnership with either of them and we’re waiting for the groups to come back with their offer to us.”

The Independent group has jointly run Cheshire East with Labour since 2019 but Cllr Browne insists no decision has been made yet on the future administration of the council.

“We’re absolutely speaking to both sides and no decision has been made," he said.

Although the Independents did suffer an overall loss last week, they also picked up some seats – and some of those new councillors have already joined the Independent group.

Cllr Browne said the two newly elected Middlewich councillors, John Bird and Garnet Marshall, who took their seats from Labour, have both joined the Independent group.

Northwich Guardian: Cllr Garnet MarshallCllr Garnet Marshall (Image: Image supplied)

Nicola Cook, who took the Sandbach Elworth seat from Labour, and Residents of Wilmslow councillor Chris Hilliard, who took the Wilmslow Lacey Green seat from the Conservatives, have also both joined the Independent group, as has new Tytherington councillor Emma Gilman.

Cllr Browne said: "The only two Independents that haven't joined are the two councillors from Handforth [John Smith and Julie Smith]."

The LDRS understands Labour and the Conservatives have yet to hold their AGMs and no decision can be made by either group on any possible partnership with the Independents until after those have taken place.

In the meantime, current Cheshire East leader Sam Corcoran remains as council leader.

Cllr Corcoran said: “I am leader of the council until the [Cheshire East] AGM on May 24 when there will be a formal vote on the council for the leader for the 23/24 year."

Cllr Corcoran did not wish to comment when asked whether he had already been in talks with the Independents about forming a new joint administration.

He said: “We will be in discussions, and when those discussions are concluded I will be making an announcement.”

Conservative group leader Janet Clowes said: “We’re back to the same position as we were in 2019 in terms of political potential partnerships but, in terms of council process, the election of a council leader and deputy leader will take place at the mayor-making in a couple of weeks’ time.”

Cheshire East Council now has 38 new faces following last week’s elections.

The new-look council is made up of 33 Conservative councillors, 31 Labour, 16 Independents – of which 14 are in the Independent group – and two Liberal Democrats.

The full results of the Cheshire East Council election are available on the council's website.